A Dynamic Duo for Greater DE&I

by Balfour Beatty

August 23, 2023

At Balfour Beatty, diversity, equity and inclusion (DE&I) is prioritized in everything we do. From recruiting and hiring practices to trade partnerships, internal employee programs and more, we aim to ensure our teammates and partners feel safe, respected and accepted in the communities where we work.

In Seattle, the team at Howard S. Wright (HSW), a Balfour Beatty company, is championing their commitment to diversity and inclusion by hosting Diverse Partner Engagement meetings. Spearheaded by Director of BIM/VDC Elizabeth Angel and Assistant Project Manager Tara Harrington, these outreach meetings invited small, minority and women-owned businesses and enterprises (SMWBEs) to have one-on-one interactions with our expert teammates.

The larger Diverse Partner Engagement meeting will happen every other year and other engagement and outreach opportunities, whether virtual or in-person, will continue to occur throughout the year to support project needs.

At these events, SMWBE representatives get to know the HSW team, learn about upcoming project partnership opportunities, best practices for marketing their firms, contract terms and more. Access to these invaluable resources and relationships will ultimately help these firms grow and thrive.

“I appreciated everyone’s willingness to engage with its diverse partners,” said one recent Diverse Partner Engagement attendee. “The team was open to conversations and engaged with their guests, making me feel like they are truly open to new partnerships.”

“Diversity, equity and inclusion are core values woven in our company DNA,” says Tara. “We saw that there was an opportunity to step in and help advance change, and we took it.”

Collaboration Coast-to-Coast

In this capacity, Elizabeth and Tara have collaborated with teammates who lead the company’s DE&I efforts from coast-to-coast. This active knowledge sharing has empowered Elizabeth and Tara to plan more impactful events for the local Puget Sound trade community. Through these interactions, Elizabeth and Tara have also gained valuable insights into reporting tools, generated outreach event ideas and developed a robust network of support.

Goal Setting and Relationship Building

Elizabeth and Tara have established many goals, including reaching out to new diverse trade contractors and businesses. To foster these relationships, they regularly attend National Association of Minority Contractors (NAMC) and Northwest Minority Builders Alliance (NWMBA) events and help mentor and support efforts for the Northwest Mountain Minority Supplier Development Council (NWMMSDC).

“The Diverse Partnership Engagement meetings are dynamic and meaningful opportunities,” says Elizabeth. “We want to raise awareness about upcoming bids, but more than that, we want diverse businesses to know we are proactively advocating for their success.”

Moving forward, the team recognizes the importance of proactively seeking out other meaningful opportunities to support SMWBEs. In the same way that Zero Harm is a never-ending journey, we believe our work with DE&I must be ongoing.

“If we can make one individual or business in our community feel seen and connected, we know we’re on the right path,” says Tara.

To learn more about the Diverse Partnership Engagement meetings in Seattle or how to attend, reach out to Elizabeth Angel and Tara Harrington